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tv   Fareed Zakaria GPS  CNN  March 21, 2010 10:00am-11:00am EDT

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can the left, if they pass this bill -- that's what this is about. the president tried to say, look, we will lose if we don't get our base back. one way to get them back is make the tough votes and pass this bill. that's what we want to track. >> "john king usa" 7:00 p.m. eastern tomorrow night. be sure to watch. >> thank you. >> john and the rest of the best political team will be on this afterno afternoon. "fareed zakaria gps" starts right now. this is "gps" the global public square. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm fareed zakaria. this week, we have a discussion about israel and what the ambassador to washington called its deepest crisis and its relationship with america. israel does not seem truly serious about what it claims is
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its threat from iran. what do i mean? think about it. israeli officials are constantly declaring that iran poses a dire and deep threat to israel's existence. that the world needs to mobilize against it but if this were true, would it not make sense for israel to do everything it could to deepen its ties to the one country whose military, political and economic help it will crucially rely on to combat the iranian threat? would it not make sense for israel to subordinate all domestic considerations to this overriding strategic issues and make whatever course corrections, adjustments necessary to stay tight with washington? would it not make sense for israel to give enormous priority to strengthening its relations, overt and tacit, with moderate arab states who share similar fears about iran? instead, this israeli government has rupp chored relations with
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washington, makes little effort on the peace process and with its inaction makes life more difficult for moderate arabs that have relations like jordan and egypt. its actions suggest this is not that much of a priority and it can continue business as usual with its motley collection of political parties, each vying with the next to demonstrate on some narrow political constituency. prime minister netanyahu who presents himself as a figure in the midst of this world crisis, is actually more like a local hack. counting the votes that will allow him to stay in office, even if that means doing very little while in that office. any way, those are my thoughts. as always on this program, you will hear others. we're joined by the owner of the new york daily news and the u.s. news and world report. he's just back from israel where he met with prime minister netanyahu. also martin endik, who served as
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ambassador to israel twice, ran the state department and also at the national security council all for president clinton. later in the show, michael lewis, the best selling author of "the blind side" has returned to wall street. >> there's a question that arises from this. why, if they're making leverage bets, really stupid leverage bets, that's catastrophic. >> you won't want to miss it. stay with us. joining me now to talk about the troubled relationship between the u.s. and israel is mart martin -- you see it as a culmination of events in which the government has been
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uncooperative towards its strongest ally. >> i would say tone deaf in this particular case. the issue of jerusalem was handled by prime minister netanyahu and senator mitchell, president obama's special envoy in detail in the context of negotiations about this settlement moratorium that has been announced. it took a long time to work that out. it took a long time, subsequent to that, to try to get agreement on the indirect talks going. and all the time there was a discussion about jerusalem, how sensitive it was, how it needed to be put to the side, how it needed to be dealt with later, and how in the process, once negotiations started, there had to be no provocative acts in jerusalem that would blow them up. the fact that the day after the talks were announced, we had this zoning committee make an announcement about housing units, was an example of an
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obtrusiveness there was on such a sensitive issue. >> mort, you're just back from israel what do they think happen? >> i think martin captured some of it i think they realized this was a blunder, if i could put it that way. i agree it was a blunder. on the other hand, of course i thought the reaction was an overreaction and was -- there was nothing that the prime minister could do apparently to assuage it. he did work out an agreement with the prime minister after this blew up, in terms of thousand manage it. then you had the secretary of state dressing down the ambassador, dressing down the prime minister, going on national television, david axlerod going on national television. that rekeindled this whole issu this was not of the israeli doing it was the doing of this administration. i think it's counterproductive
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to do that because it will inhibit the ability for these negotiations to go forward in a positive and construction way rather than help. >> martin, would you agree with that? do you think the american reaction was an overreaction? >> no i don't. i think there was a combination of circumstances here. first, there was the humiliation of the vice president, which, i think, got the president particularly upset. it comes in the context of history, troubled history of relations between the prime minister and the president. and the administration. in which there's a sense that every time the prime minister needs something, he comes to washington, he insists, you know, demands this has to be done, you have to take this into account. you have to take my right wing into account. i can't do this because of my coalition problems. and it's just a kind of litany, but on the other hand he expects
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the obama administration to meet all of his requirements, particularly when it comes to iran, where we have a common interest in curbing iran's nuclear program. it comes in the context of a feeling that enough is enough. we need some clarity as we go into these negotiations. we need some clarity. and we need to send a message, not just to the prime minister, but to his whole government that you can't play around. you can't take us for granted. >> let's talk for a minute about netanyahu, about the prime minister. this is a man who presents himself in almost tritillion terms, warning the west and warning the world of this danger that iran poses. but when you watch what he's actually willing to do, mort, in terms of actions, he has not prioritized it in a way that says i will take whatever it takes to dean and strengthen the relation with the united states, which is the one country that can help him on it. he's sitting there like a local
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alderman counting votes with his coalition to cobble together some kind of coalition that can keep him alive. i mean, it's not a particularly inspiring figure in action, leaving aside his rhetoric. >> he is trying to hold together a coalition, surprise, surprise. he is a politician. he is definitely prepared. he has been prepared to negotiate without preconditions with the palestinians which they have not been prepared to do, in part because of the position of the united states on the settlement freeze. so, it's always complicated in that part of the world. all i'm saying to you is that i think he's definitely committed to that objective. it is his -- he will not be a prime minister a third time around this is his historic chance. i believe it's also true of mahmoud abbas. the palestinian leader. i think he also feels it's an historic opportunity. there is a moment here. the parties have do it and do it directly. but for the israelis to do it, they have to have more
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confidence and thrust in the american administration. and that, too has been eroded. been eroded, i might add, by the obama administration. >> martin, you negotiated with netanyahu for years. what do you think? >> i have the scars to prove it. look, it's good that you invoke churchill, that's appropriate. netanyahu at the moment, i think, sees himself in a kind of churchillean mode. warning against the gathering storms which comes from the east, from iran. that's his major preoccupation. peace with the palestinians is a minor concern, i think, in terms of his world view at the moment. and the big question is whether he's going to be churchill or whether he's going to be bengorian. he was the one capable of taking really tough, hard decisions that involved bitter compromises
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in order to secure the creation of the state. in this case, to secure the world in being in longevity of the state of israel. he cannot have it both ways. he exists in a political coalition that does not believe in a two-state solution that will not, at the end of the day, support him giving up 95% or whatever it is of the west bank and the arab suburbs of jerusalem. so he's in a tough position. but ultimately he has wielded immense authority as a prime minister. and i think he will have to make a decision whether he's going to go with the united states and go for a two-state solution, or whether he's just going to try to stay on his seat. >> you know, i find that a puzzling statement. here you have a prime minister who frankly has taken his government to the point where he does want to enter the negotiations, without preconditions. and it's the palestinians at this stage of the game who say they don't want to enter the
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negotiations unless there are preconditions which the government simply could not do. those preconditions -- bear in mind, the palestinians were willing to negotiate with the israelis force 15 years without the issue of having settlements frozen this was a condition created by the american position. it's not just the israelis. the palestinians also have to be forthcoming. they can't sit there and say no all the time. that's what they have been doing for a long time. i think, frankly, they realize it as well. netanyahu realizes it as well. this is their historic opportunity. i believe if the pressure is kept off of them, they will be able do it, but primarily through negotiations that the parties carry on by themselves. if the united states is going to be the honest broker, they have to have the confidence of both sides. that's one thing undermined this time around. >> yes, there's an erosion of confidence between israel and the united states on both sides. we've been through many crises
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before. if we can get through this one, it will be possible for the american -- the israeli people to have confidence in the united stat states, in this administration, because of all the things this administration is doing manifest itself to israeli's security from $3 billion a year, enhanced missile defense, detailed coordination of the iran challenge. i think that there are many things that the -- this administration is doing to provide the kind of safety net that would make it possible for israel to take calculated risks for peace. >> we will come back to this discussion of the united states and israel in just a moment. >> they want to get some kind of quid pro quo going. >> we should not be seen as the sucker. that's what happened this last week. ♪
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indyk and mortimer zuckerman, real estate billionaire, owner of the new york daily news to talk about the united states and israel. do you worry, mort, about the aftereffects of this -- of this crisis and the tensions over the last year between israel and the united states? what i'm struck by, one of the reasons i asked the two of you to join me, you both are strong supporters of israel. you are both jewish americans. yet there's this growing divide within the american jewish community, is there not? >> i think there is less of a divide in the american jewish community. i think it's a community that by in large is totally committed to try to do whatever it can to help -- bring about a peaceful resolution. let me just say this -- look. this is a very difficult and complicated issue, and it is very emotional. i think mahmoud abbas is somebody who is a decent man. who is determined to try to bring about a reconciliation,
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and leave a legacy of a palestinian state. and i think he is somebody that the israelis can and should work with. there has to be a way found to make that happen. but i also think, and i think it's easy to underestimate netanyahu and a lot of people have, but i spent quite a bit of time with him this past weekend. i can assure you -- i'm not violating any secrets -- he is absolutely committed. he stated it publicly, he states is privately, he's committed to do whatever he can, consistent, of course, with what he believes to be israel's interest and consistent with his sense of the way to negotiate with the palestinians to bring about a peaceful resolution. you know, it's a very different world. martin knows this better than almost anybody. in that world, when you make unilateral concessions, it is seen as weakness. they want to get some kind of
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pr kid pro quo going, so the onus is not on israel. >> there are some like mort and many other leaderses of the jewish community who don't feel comfortable with a loud, public brawl between the united states and israel. okay. we have differences, let's do it in quiet. let's not make an issue out of it. that's the criticism from -- from israel supporters in congress this week as well. and there are others, i count myself among them who say, you know, sometimes it's a good thing in a relationship, if you're going to have an argument, have it out in the open, get it out. get some clarity so we can move on. now, as far as what happens with netanyahu and his difficulties, you know, i think it comes back to this question of having to
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make a decision of who he wants to be. tom free land put it as he wanted, go down in history as statesman or as a footnote. his last round as prime minister, he went down as a footnote. at least in my book that i wrote, because he basically achieved nothing. he just got everybody angry with him. and that's the way he's headed now. and part of b.b.'s concern, he don't want to be seen as what's referred to in israel, as a friar, a sucker. he won't give unless he gets. he makes a big deal about that. he wasn't the only one. ehud barak had the same attitude. that's the kind of mentality that really guides his judgment on these kinds of things. my view is, okay, if he doesn't want to be a friar, we should take that into account. but he should not make us the
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friar. we should not be seen as the sucker. that's what happened this last week. he made us look like the sucker. >> mort, let me ask you one thing about netanyahu. you said, of course is he is a politician, he has to take into account his coalition. he does have the potential to form a different coalition. he has chosen to have a coalition with a group of very right wing parties who are fundamentally opposed to a two-state solution. there is an alternative coalition which would be larger electorally. it may mean personal sacrifice on his part. he would have to share power in a way that he doesn't right now surely that's the test of statesmanship, does he want to do something for israel or himself. >> i think you're posing the wrong question. i don't think he'll have difficulty. it's got to be an agreement, shall we say, that protects israel's national security. i think his coalition understands exactly what is at
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stake. he will have no difficulty getting majority in the parliament if he has an agreement that he has to put to that parliament. it is not just -- his policies are not just determined by the far right of israeli politics. you take the foreign minister, many people think he's a far right -- but he's the most flexible person on the issue of the -- if you talk to him, the most flexible person on what it's going to take to bring about a resolution. they all know they have to do that. >> this is lieberman who many people believe is in favor of the ethnic expulsion of palestinians. >> you put it the wrong way. what he said was the easiest way to resolve these issues -- there are many people -- find some way to have a population exchange so you have a total arab population on one side and a jewish population on the other. it's unworkable. it is his way of trying -- i'm not trying to justify it. he is somebody who is completely
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flexible on this thing. let's not overstate what it takes to get an agreement within his cabinet. there are other people within the likud party who are much tougher on these issues than lieberman. he will be able to get the majority in the knesset if he had a deal to pursue. one thing that's important on both sides is that because it is such a sensitive issue, neither side can afford do this in public. any issue you get an agreement on will have detractors. what you have to do is reach an overall agreement, present it to the parliament, present it to the palestinian world and they'll accept it in the context of it being an overall agreement and not fighting over every detail of it. that's why the negotiations have to be held in private and not public. i couldn't disagree more strongly with martin about that. it inhibits what both sides have to do. >> all right. we will have to end on this note, in this particular context between these two people it was very useful to have a public
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disagreement because the rest of us got a chance to be educated as a result of it. mort zuckerman, martin indyk, thank you very much. >> thank you. when you look back at what happened, there was so much propaganda in the air it was a collective thing on wall street. this all was okay. this business. it was obviously insane. their fair share of we can't move forward until you mail it back. 2010 census. take care of your engine and it'll go far.
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a lot of people are talking about michael lewis' new book "the big short" about a handful of people, all odd balls, independent thinkers who saw the financial collapse happen before anyone else did. and most of them made spectacular profits from their foresight. but the book is about more than that. it poses a provocative thesis that wall street in its current form may just be a dinosaur. a dying empire. michael lewis is a best-selling writer of all kinds of books. but he has a special insight into wall street. back in the 1980s he worked at salomon brothers, the firm that pioneered the kind of bonds that eventually almost took down the american financial system. he wrote a book about that experience "liars poker" and even then was questioning the way wall street operates.
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welcome, michael. >> thanks for having me back. >> the central promiemise of th book is that on the biggest financial trade in the history of capitalism, the vast majority of wall street was on the wrong side. >> absolutely. i mean this story is really the story of a single bet. the entire financial system organized itself around this bet. it's a bet on or against subprime mortgage bonds in the various derivatives thereon. the vast majority of the financial system, virtually all the big firms, were on the wrong side. they were longing it. this, to me, was one of the things that awakened my interest in wall street as a narrative subject. when i left, the last thing an investor would want to be is on the other side of a trade from goldman sachs or soloman brothers. if you were in a zero sum bet
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with one of those firms, you were sure to lose. they were the smart money. somehow they became the dumb money. the somehow is they got structured in a way that caused collective intelligence to decline. it caused a kind of stupidity inside. >> risk-seeking, so that, you know, there was money to be made in the short-term because the bubble kept inflating. and nobody wanted to miss that opportunity. >> that's right. the short-term is at the center of the problem. if you want to -- in the very abstract way to back away from -- from the massive losses in these wall street firms and say, okay, what were the incentives that caused people to take those risks that led to the losses. first the ceos are evaluated quarter to quarter. if there are insane businesses that are making money at a given time, they can't avoid the businesses. because their peers will be in
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it, and they can't afford to have returns that lag their peers for very long. or else they lose their job. on the level of the trader, the risk taker, you think about what it means to be paid massive sums at the end of a year, based on, you know, what you did that year. irrespective of the risk you have taken on into the future. you create an incentive, essentially to be a seller of catastrophe insurance. you book the premium as profits rite away, and while there's this long-tail risk, there's a 1 in 20 chance that it will happen, or 1 in 100 chance that there's going to be a disaster n any case it's in the future. we can ignore it. >> what did it take for somebody to bet against all these harvard, yale, princeton people making multi-million dollars occupying enormously important positions? you found a bunch of people. they are all oddballs.
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>> they are all unusual people. >> did you seek the oddballs or were they mostly oddballs. >> it's hard for a writer of narrative nonfiction to avoid the oddballs. there's an appeal in them. generally speaking, the people -- there were only a small handful of people on the right side of the bet in a big way. somewhere between 10, 20 investors. i did a search and met a lot of them. most of them. i didn't pick the oddest of the bunch, just because they were the oddest. i picked them because they were -- i picked -- the characters i focused on i focused on because i thought through their story the reader could learn the most about why this happened. but it's a really good question why them. and in the first place, you know, if you're going to have variant views, it helps to be variant. it helps to be different. it's -- it's -- when you look
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back on what happened, there was so much propaganda in the air. there was this kind of collective thing, group thing on wall street that this all was okay. this business. it was obviously insane. nobody wanted to say no. it was almost rude to say that this is a disaster. in the making. so the people who said that in the first place were socially equipped to say it. they we they were kind of walled off. one of them had asburgers syndrome. he was just looking at data. that was the first ingredient that made it possible for them to see the truth. >> are they smarter? why are they more independent? >> they are not smarter. they are all smart. everybody on wall street is smart. you know, smart is not the problem. the problem is -- it's a story of human perception more than anything else. you have this -- you have this set of facts out in the
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universe, and they can be organized into a pretty picture or ugly picture. why does 99% of the people organize it into a pretty picture, and what is it about the 1% that organize it into an ugly picture? it was different in each case. there was either a -- rooted in their experience or character, some predisposition to interpret the facts the way they did. it really is -- this is why it's literary material, these investment decisions they made were deeply rooted in character or experience. so you have to take it on a case by case basis. the starting point in each case is they're not a part of the -- they're outsiders. they're kind of -- they don't have any social investment in wall street. they don't belong. in some sense they don't belong. so there's no social cost in taking an opposing view. >> what's interesting to me about it is it's the ability to break with the herd.
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the ability to just say the emperor has no clothes or predict a sharp discontinue annuity. that's the most difficult thing for a collective system to do, even now what you notice is so wall street went through this enormous crisis, this collapse, the dow goes down to 6300 and rallies remarkably over the past year, which nobody predicted. again, when things went bad, everybody straight line projected -- present trend also continue. >> you know, in each case with these people it was an act of imagination that was required. you're right. in order to have made this bet, because you were betting on the financial system collapsing, and you knew it, you had to be able to imagine a world radically different than the world you were sitting in. people have trouble with that. this is why global warming has so much trouble getting politicized. people have trouble saying, yeah, yeah, yeah, the scientists
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say the sea level also rise 20 feet, but they have trouble imagining the sea levels rise. when it happens, then people with overreact. they will say, oh, my god, they'll rise a hundred feet. people are trapped in whatever is happening at the moment. in addition, it's also true that the vast majority of the financial system was incentivized not to see the truth. people were paid not to see this was a disaster in a making. >> we will be back with michael lewis. we will figure out how to solve all the this when we come back. >> the politics is obvious. >> the politics is obvious. if people knew would want all of this to happen. and, i think, largely people sense the truth. i get in on tha? are you a safe driver? yes. discount! do you own a home? yes. discount! are you going to buy online? yes! discount! isn't getting discounts great? yes! there's no discount for agreeing with me.
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we are back with michael lewis. so, you look at the wall street that you describe. and you said this can't last. now -- >> i was wrong. >> i was just about to say --
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>> very wrong. i've been wrong. >> every five years you said this can't go on forever, but somehow it does. somehow you think it's different? >> i think only once i said it was doomed. when i walked out -- i didn't say it exactly explicitly, but i thought it i thought when i wrote "liar's poker" that the mere fact that someone was paying me huge sums of money to give financial advice spelled doom. there was no way this was a sustainable enterprise. i misread the situation. this is -- what happened instead is that wall street in a very super official way cleaned up its act. it eliminated outrageous behavior that would make the "new york post." it became corporate and sanitized. seemingly socialized. but, in fact, beneath the surface, the financial obscenity got worse and worse and worse.
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so, you know, when i wrote -- the only reason i came back to it, i was wrong. "liar's poker" was the story not about the end of an era but the beginning of an era. there remained this question. it was assumed that the rest of the american economy may be going to hell. but those americans do know what they're doing with money. >> yeah. >> that, has changed. that has changed now. it now -- i don't think there's anybody who thinks people on wall street know what they're doing. >> but those banks are still making lots of money. >> yes. it's because they created a crisis of such proportions that the first crack at the problem, the government's response was they have essentially got us hostage. whatever the cause is, the symptoms are so grotesque we have to deal with those first. so, for a year and a half, we have been dealing with symptoms. the government made a decision, the bush administration preserved in the obama administration that wall street shareholders couldn't take a hit. that creditors of wall street
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banks couldn't take a hit. very different policy than they adopted with the auto industry. very different policy than the british government adopted with banks. once you adopt that policy, you paint yourself in a corner. the only way out is to give money to the banks until they're healthy again. that's what they've been doing in dramatic fashion. lots of little subtle gifts to the banks. the bank's response, you might have thought, might have been, wow, we're grateful. we are really sorry we behaved the way we did clearly there's something wrong here. there must be a way to regulate us. instead, the banks have paid themselves and did their best to stimy reform. democracy moves slowly. if it moves fast, we might do things we shouldn't do. but it's pretty clear that the
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reform idea is alooive. this is still not subsided about what wall street did. and that that political anger is going to be channelled into some sort of reform. >> looking at the proposals on the table now, are you broadly comfortable with what senator dodd has proposed? >> yes. at this point, the knee jerk reaction that anyone says in washington is that it's bs. he's saying whatever he's saying because he's going to get paid by wall street firms when he gets out, which may be true. so it's interesting. most of the media commentary has been negative about it. but the actual goal, his stated goals, are exactly the right goals. whether the way -- whether we need two years of studies before we start implementing reforms, i mean, that's a good question. i think we just had three years -- we already had our study in the real world.
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we know that wall street screwed up. we know why. i think the things he has proposed, the basic -- the basic idea of, one, forcing transparency in places. by transparency, meaning if you buy or sell a credit default swap or any other thing, you will not do it between yourselves and create risk that nobody knows what they are or how big they are. creating this uncertainty in the system. you will do it on a change, and we will know at any given moment what your exposure is and what the world's exposure to you is. two, consumer protection agency. for whatever reason people -- i've learned this from 25 years of writing on the subject. people have a hard time understanding money. we live in a society that's money drenched, money obsessed, but americans are easily people, easily buffaloed on the subject of money. they're persuaded to do things against their own self-interest
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more easily when they're dealing with complicated financial matters than in other matters. so, in this fear there clearly needs to be someone who watches out for peoples own interest, because they're not very good at watching out for themselves. three, the credit ratings agencies. the idea of having -- what i think should happen, they should forbid wall street from paying moody's and standards and poors from rating their bonds. absent that, to have some regulatory oversight of the credit ratings agency, make it easier to sue the ratings agencies if they screw up sounds good to me. the vocal rule. there's some version of it in dodd's plan. which is banning proprietary trading. now this is -- >> banning proprietary trading for big banks that effectively expect some kind of government assistance if they screw up. >> right.
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yes. not using the taxpayer money to roll the -- this is a special case of a broader problem. that i would love to have seen discussed in a broad -- in broader terms. the broader problem is quite obvious. the broader problem is these firms trade for their own account in securities that they're advising you to buy and sell. now, if you're doing that, you're a wall street firm, what happens? inevitably they abuse you for the sake of their own bets, especially when they increasingly conceive their business as a big bet. so you're not going to get, honest, straightforward financial advice from someone who has got an agenda it's not just proprietary trading that causes the problem, it's the individual traders making markets in the securities being behind the transactions that ultimately are done with the customers, with the investors.
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i don't see any reason why a firm should be doing both. any reason why it needs to be doing both. there should be the schwabs of the world giving right on institutional and individual levels, brokerage operations that have no positions. and then you have things, i don't nokno know what you call hedge funds, but they make the bets, fine. and they don't have any guarantee behind them. they're allowed to fail. the politics is obvious. the interest to society is obvious. if people knew the truth, they would want all of this to happen. and i think largely people sense the truth. up against this are the financial contributions and the political persuasion of goldman sachs and morgan stanley and other wall street firms that i can't believe won't be overwhelmed by -- by the social interest. so i feel kind of hopeful about it all. it's probably crazy, but if some
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of that happens or a lot of that happens, a lot of these reforms take place, you will have a dramatically reshaped wall street. >> michael lewis, always a pressure. >> thanks. ♪ [ male announcer ] every business day, bank of america lends nearly $3 billion dollars to individuals, institutions, schools, organizations and businesses in every corner of the economy. ♪ america. growing stronger. every day. ♪ [ male announcer ] before he changed the world... tear down this wall. [ male announcer ] ...or led a nation... i ronald reagan do solemnly swear. [ male announcer ] ...or governed a state... you and i have a rendezvous with destiny. [ male announcer ] ...he inspired our company... with his optimism, his belief in innovation,
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and his entrepreneurial spirit. [ man ] for general electric, here is ronald reagan. ♪
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i'm candy crowley. congressman john larson said earlier on this program that democrats had the 216 votes necessary to pass health care reform. the vote is scheduled for later this afternoon. >> republican congressman mike pence said his party would use every means at their disposal to oppose the measure.
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>> in iraq they're still counting the ballots two weeks after the parliamentary election. prime minister nuri al maliki is requesting a manual recount of the tight race. he says it is necessary to protect the democratic experience and preserve the integrity of the electoral process. initial results show his coalition is leading in 17 of the 18 provinces. up next, more of "fareed zakaria gps." he recommended citracal. it's different -- it's calcium citrate, so it can be absorbed with or without food. citracal.
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now for our "what in the world" segment. what caught my attention is a new ranking of the world's top financial centers. first did you realize that london was number one until this year? but now it's tied with new york. what really got my attention was
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that the rest of the top five were not paris, frankfurt or boston, chicago. hong kong came in right behind the u.s. and uk financial capitals. and singapore and tokyo followed in quick succession. rounding out the asian cities in the top ten, shenzhen. ever heard of shenzhen? it's a still of more than 10 million people in the southeast of china. you ought to get familiar with it. it has its own stock exchange, ranks first out of all the global financial centers for its reputation. in fact, 6 of the top 10 city force reputation are in asia. and new york and london are towards the end of that grouping. understandably so after all the blame heaped on them for the current financial crisis. incredibly, when this study was first conducted just three years ago, shenzhen wasn't even one of
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the 46 cities on the list. that's how fast some places are moving up to challenge the dominance of western cities. now, of course, shenzhen is a major player. we will all need to learn more about city like it in 291st century. so book your ticket to shenzhen right away. we'll be right back. now for
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week. here's what i want to know. is the current dust-up in u.s./israeli relations serious
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or is it a minor affair that will blow over? let me know what you think. as always, you can go to our website to see some great answers to last week's question. and as i do every week, i'd like to recommend a book. this one is from our guest, michael lewis. it is called "the big short." it is his history of the financial crisis told not through the eyes of the villains or the losers, the masters of the universe on wall street who are blind to the facts of this catastrophe that was bearing down on them. but rather through the eyes of the unlikeliest heroes. the often oddball investors dotted around the country who did see it coming and shorted that is sold the markets that they saw collapsing. now for the last look. this week it comes to us from karkasia. never heard of it? it's a russian republic in the far-off corner of siberia and admittedly we had not heard of it either until we saw this


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